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Community

Taking Your Small Group off Life Support

Re:Lit Books
by Brad House
Publisher: Crossway Books
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Current Retail Price: $15.99

When Brad House wrote Community, missional was the major buzzword among evangelical Christians. Now, just two years later, the big word is community, and one wonders to what extent this book has contributed to the current dialogue. House is a pastor at Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church in Seattle, so he's poised to get lots of attention.

In the introduction, he quotes the beginning of 1 Corinthians, and interprets Paul's positive opening as indicative of the apostle's desire for the Corinthian church to "be more." This informs all of House's book, as he attempts to show leaders what a church small group should look like, why it exists, and what it can accomplish under informed and serious guidance.

As church congregations become bigger and bigger, the need for more intimate and personal discipleship and training becomes greater and greater. A small group, according to House, should hear the words of Christ, be changed by them, and live according to them by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit.

House reiterates over and over that Christians must live in community, that community is implicit in Christianity, and similar statements emphasizing the importance and centrality of community. The reason it's so important is that the church is designed to disciple believers and to bring the good news of Christ to unbelievers, both of which require people working together.

In an effort to provide guidance for creating effective small groups, House uses biblical theology, ministry philosophy, and practical strategy to present his vision and arguments. You'll find charts and images, statistics, real-life stories, and moreas youlearn how to root your small group in the Christian's identity in Christ rather than in rigorous programs and activities.

The subtitle ("Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support") indicates one of House's principle points: small groups aren't supposed to limp along slavishly tied to the mother church. Rather, they're to be organic communities dedicated to missions and discipleship aimed at churchgoers, neighborhoods, and cities.

This is a practical, biblically-rooted guide for small group leaders. Some of the arguments are suspect (is God really a triune community?), and House can seem more interested in Christians achievement than inresting in the finished work of Christ, but overall the content is good. Best for those involved in small group ministry, Community is a call to faithful discipleship and missions in an age that typically disregards both.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
FLAWS: Some careless theological statements
Summary: An argument for and guide to using small groups as focal points for ministry, discipleship, and evangelism.

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